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Nintendo Switch’s Classic Game Collection is different from Virtual Console (update)

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Retro game program arrives alongside online service

Balloon Fight on Wii U Dave Tach/Polygon

Although Nintendo Switch will receive revamped retro games as part of its online service, don’t consider that program a Virtual Console replacement, according to an interview in Famitsu.

“Classic Games Selection (tentative name) is different from the [Virtual Console],” a spokesperson told the Japanese magazine. The spokesperson then added that Nintendo’s schedule for selling Virtual Console games is “still undecided.”

That doesn’t mean a Virtual Console will never come to Nintendo Switch. That Nintendo is differentiating it from the Classic Games Selection program, a set of free, old titles that will be available to Nintendo Online Service subscribers, gives a small sense of hope.

It is peculiar that three months into the Switch’s lifespan, Nintendo hasn’t said much about the Virtual Console. First introduced during the Wii era, the downloadable games library makes it possible for Nintendo fans to purchase their favorite retro titles and replay them on modern hardware.

The Virtual Console is available on Wii, Wii U and Nintendo 3DS. It continues to receive occasional updates, although we’d recommend holding off on them — should the Switch receive a Virtual Console of its own, there’s no confirmation that those older purchases will transfer to the new system.

When reached for comment, Nintendo told Polygon that it has “nothing to announce on this topic.”

Update: This story and headline have been updated to clarify and correct statements from Nintendo about the release schedule of the Virtual Console on Switch. Additionally, a response from Nintendo has been added.